The Oklahoma City Thunder have selected Murray State point guard Cameron Payne with the 14th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Can Payne compete with the big time players in the NBA? He is 6'2", 182lb guard from a mid-major conference who has shot up the draft board, and now he is a member of the Thunder.
Cameron Payne was number one on my draft board. I don't usually fall in love with prospects, but as I've gotten to learn and watch Payne, my confidence in him is growing.
Name: Cameron Payne
College: Murray State
Cameron Payne has been rising up the draft boards since he started his workouts. The mid-major point guard has questions surrounding the level of competition he played against at Murray State, but Payne is clearly a special player. He is a smart guard with the ability to find the open cutter. He has a very quick first step but rarely uses it to finish at the time. Payne actually struggles finishing, but his floater is tough to alter. Where Payne also excels is in pick and roll situations because he is comfortable with the ball in his hands. The best attribute of Payne is his feel for the game. He usually makes the right decision when passing and shooting, he is mature beyond his years.
The Thunder supposedly made a promise to Payne early on in the draft process, but I had doubts that he would fall this far. Payne is an incredible fit in OKC's system. He is a capable backup to Westbrook; his inability to finish at the rim probably won't hurt him on a team that lives off of getting to the hoop. Payne can make a beautiful pick and roll duo with Enes Kanter. Payne is another guy who is ready to contribute next year and I know that he will be a fan favorite coming off the bench. He is a low usage, high efficiency type of player that will be a big time contributor next season. I love this pick.
OKC has had its sights on the Murray State product for a while, and I'm happy he fell past the Pacers, who strongly considered him. Many scouts refer to him as a mini-D'Angelo Russell...not mini in skill set...mini in size. That is good news. Payne is a player that has worked hard to get to where he is now, and I'm glad his home is in OKC.
Here is what the site Mid-Major Madness has to say about Payne:
Payne was a monster playmaker for the Racers, averaging 20.2 points per game, but also dishing nearly six assists. It was a no doubt selection to name Payne as the OVC Player of the Year.
That is building on a freshman season where Mid-Major Madness named him the top freshman in the game, and where he took home All-Conference and Freshman of the Year honors in the Ohio Valley.
FiveThirtyEight.com projects Payne to have a 19 percent chance of being a solid starter during his first two to five years in the league, and a 31.7 percent chance of being at least a role player in that time.